Last night I held a baby chick in my hand, one that hatched here in Wheatley River, part silkie. So soft, so fragile, clinging to life by a dropper of sugar water and a heating lamp. It had been too cold yesterday afternoon. The day before was sweltering near 30. But then a shift, a sudden drop, and this little one was overtaken by shivers. I marveled at the delicate intricacy of its emerging feathers, of the warmth of its faltering heart – one of God’s creatures. It died before morning, and our eyes leaked salty water.
This morning we found the first strawberries down by the chicken coop. We had unearthed the patch quite by surprise, clearing out brush early this spring. Arden brought one in to me, perfectly red, perfectly ripe, as if timed to my breakfast. Fruit in season – what could be sweeter? You can’t buy that life on a shelf.
Today I thinned the carrots and turnips. Too many, too close, and the harvest will be thin and twisted. So I pulled up the tiny roots, already veggies in miniature. I marveled at the faint purple of the turnip roots, the hearty green of suncatcher leaves, the very life of these seed babies. I tossed them in the compost pile. Maybe I’ll eat them next year.
This afternoon I found a chipmunk, dead, in the grass by the old tractor. One of the cats must have got it. I swelled at my cat’s hunting skills while mourning the chipper motion that was halted forever, here on the lawn. I lifted it with the spade and laid its life to gentle rest beneath one of the hedgerow’s rotting logs.
Life – size does not determine its significance. Creation whispers as powerfully as it roars, and I am caught up in its Gloria.
Life – it comes and goes between my fingers, and all I can do is try to catch the joy and cradle the sorrow . . . keep my hands cupped open.